Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1890 & 99

Helen Brotherton (1812 - 1898)

Helen Brotherton, sometimes known as Ellen, was a prominent member of the Bible Christian Church, Salford and became a Vice President of the Vegetarian Society.

She was born on 15th April 1812 in Salford and baptised on 14th May 1812 at the Bible Christian Church in King Street Salford. She was the daughter of Joseph Brotherton (1783 – 1857), Minister of the Bible Christian Church (from 1817 to 1857) and Salford's first Member of Parliament (from 1832 to 1857); and Martha (nee Harvey) Brotherton (1784 – 1761), who wrote the first Vegetarian Cookery Book (of the modern age). They were married on 12th March 1805 at Whittington, Derbyshire. Helen's siblings were: Sarah (born 1808), Mary (born 1810 in Salford and died in 1836 aged 25), James (born 1814, married Mary Hannah Roberts, and died in 1871, aged 56) and John (born and died in 1815 aged 6 weeks).

The Bible Christian Church was formed in 1809 when William Cowherd (who had built a chapel in King Street, Salford in 1800), decided that eating animal flesh was a sin. Helen's father Joseph Brotherton, was attracted to this new church at about this time and was to become its Minister in 1817. Helen was brought up with the Church's principles of not eating meat, not drinking alcohol, not smoking tobacco, and against war and slavery. Church members played a prominent part in these movements and in particular, forming the Vegetarian Association.

Helen was brought up in Salford. The 1841 census shows the family home was Bank Side, Salford, although Helen was not present. (It's possible she visited the Bible Christian Church in Philadelphia, USA, as Passenger Lists show an Ellen Brotherton sailing to that city on a ship named Lord Gough). In 1851, Helen aged 38, was with her mother Martha at Grecian Street, Camp Street, Broughton. In 1861, after both her parents had died, she lived at 42, Bolton Road, Pendleton, with two servants. The 1871 census shows she lived at Seedley Road, Pendleton; in 1881 at 41, Seedley Road; and in 1891 at Lower Seedley Road, Pendleton.

The Manchester Guardian of 17th May 1898 reports, "Miss Brotherton: The death occurred yesterday, in her 86th year, of Miss Helen Brotherton, daughter of the late Mr Joseph Brotherton, M.P. for Salford from 1832 to his death in 1857. Mr Brotherton was an ardent Free-trader and sturdy reformer in many directions. He was the Minister of the Bible Christian Church in Salford and officiated there during Parliamentary recesses. His daughter shared his views, and her father's position brought her into contact with many famous and interesting people including Daniel O'Connell. She presented some of her father's collections to the Peel Park Museum, and long preserved his multifarious correspondence. Until a comparatively short time ago, she had excellent health and spirits, was vivacious in conversation, had a remarkable fund of reminiscences, and had a life-long devotion to charity and good work. Miss Brotherton was a vice president of the Vegetarian Society." She was buried in the family vault in A3 Dissenters portion on 19th May 1898.  Rev. J Clough officiated.